Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) saw strong trading volume on Wednesday . 14,613,307 shares changed hands during mid-day trading, an increase of 169% from the previous session’s volume of 5,422,578 shares.The stock last traded at $50.78 and had previously closed at $50.96.

A number of research analysts recently issued reports on the company. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Thursday, April 28th. Jefferies Group reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Monday, July 11th. Howard Weil assumed coverage on Southern in a report on Friday, May 13th. They issued a “sector perform” rating and a $52.00 target price for the company. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Southern in a report on Wednesday, June 15th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered Southern from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 11th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $52.32.

The stock has a 50-day moving average of $53.27 and a 200-day moving average of $50.73. The firm has a market cap of $48.74 billion and a P/E ratio of 20.55.

Southern (NYSE:SO) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.74 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.70 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $4.45 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.54 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.71 EPS. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Southern Co. will post $2.86 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, September 6th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.56 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 11th. This represents a $2.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.28%.

In other news, CEO Mark A. Crosswhite sold 167,273 shares of Southern stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, July 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.30, for a total transaction of $8,915,650.90. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 171,983 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,166,693.90. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, CEO Stan W. Connally sold 14,392 shares of Southern stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $53.75, for a total value of $773,570.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 17,716 shares in the company, valued at approximately $952,235. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Other large investors have added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Homrich & Berg boosted its stake in Southern by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. Homrich & Berg now owns 64,526 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,019,000 after buying an additional 2,471 shares during the period. Victory Capital Management Inc. boosted its stake in Southern by 44.6% in the fourth quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 71,867 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,363,000 after buying an additional 22,183 shares during the period. Gyroscope Capital Management Group LLC boosted its stake in Southern by 0.5% in the fourth quarter. Gyroscope Capital Management Group LLC now owns 83,446 shares of the company’s stock worth $3,904,000 after buying an additional 387 shares during the period. I.G. Investment Management LTD. boosted its stake in Southern by 40.9% in the fourth quarter. I.G. Investment Management LTD. now owns 115,139 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,387,000 after buying an additional 33,397 shares during the period. Finally, Stephens Inc. AR boosted its stake in Southern by 5.7% in the fourth quarter. Stephens Inc. AR now owns 156,360 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,316,000 after buying an additional 8,402 shares during the period.

The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional operating companies and Southern Power Company (Southern Power), and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. Southern Company’s segments include the sale of electricity by four traditional operating companies, Southern Power and All Other.

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